This article has been submitted by Uprise VSI
No longer do the physical and digital environments work in splendid isolation – if they ever truly did. The world has evolved into an omnichannel environment, where the boundaries between online and offline have dissipated. And it presents a both a challenge, and an opportunity to the switched-on retail business.
Digital and mobile ubiquity is prevalent in almost all of our everyday personal and working lives. Freed from the constriction of our office desks and sofas, we have the ability to search for information, goods, and services, from pretty much any location.
It’s led to a sea change in the way we do business, and the way in which consumers navigate their way through the buying journey. Not to mention a radical shift in the expectations placed on retailers for providing a seamless customer experience across each and every channel; from website and social media, to SMS, phone or visits to the good old-fashioned bricks and mortar store.
While most businesses will acknowledge this change, recognising the need to have a presence online, on social and so forth, the omnichannel model depends upon delivery of seamless, consistent customer experience across each channel in which they operate.
On one level, this means consistency of brand, message and usability, whatever the platform or device. A reason why it’s so important to ensure that websites are responsive and allow the same ‘experience’ regardless of the whether visited via mobile, tablet or PC.
However, for a traditional retailer seeking to meet the modern challenges posed by ever-more sophisticated and intelligent ecommerce platforms, the importance of a sound omnichannel strategy is more far-reaching than simply having a website that looks good on mobile, or a proactive social media strategy – although both are certainly helpful.
Consistent Message at Every Touchpoint
Delivering an omnichannel customer experience, therefore, is recognising this trend in instore consumer behaviour and finding ways to maintain a consistent, and personalised service across all online and offline touchpoints.
As ecommerce has evolved so it has given consumers new levels of expectation when it comes to personalised recommendations.
Major online retailers track activity, purchases and searches, allowing them to steer you towards recommended products on your next visit.
Omnichannel seeks to capture this activity across every platform to allow a personalised customer experience at every engagement, on every channel.
Application of new technology can provide the tools to deliver this omnichannel customer experience for business seeking to engage on multiple platforms.
For example, the consumer who searches online but requires a visit to the store or showroom before reaching point of sale can be encouraged to do so by simply booking a personal appointment. Data captured through the process made accessible across the company from call centre to shop floor. Information that can (with customer consent, of course) be applied to foster personalised engagement across every channel now and into the future.
Building a relationship that’s maintained online and offline, increasing the understanding of customers preferences and buying habits, elevating the service to a more personal experience, to develop brand loyalty and ultimately, the kind of advocacy that encourages your customers to spread the positive word across all those precious channels.